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Local and international civil society organizations call on Central Asian states to end torture and impunity

On 26 June 2014, the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, a coalition of human rights organizations is urging the five Central Asian governments to publicly and unequivocally condemn torture and to demonstrate their commitment with follow up actions.

In December 1997, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly proclaimed 26 June the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, a day to speak out against the crime of torture, and to honour and support victims and survivors around the world.

According to the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (Convention against Torture) that entered into force exactly 27 years ago, on 26 June 1987, torture is absolutely prohibited under international law and cannot be justified under any circumstances.

All Central Asian states are parties to the Convention against Torture and have thus committed themselves to protect anybody under their jurisdiction from the crime of torture. They have also taken further positive steps, for example by introducing legal amendments aimed at strengthening safeguards against torture. However, torture continues to plague the Central Asian societies. It is widely used across the region and impunity for torture is widespread. Human rights defenders record hundreds of cases involving torture or other ill-treatment across the region every year.

In all Central Asian countries torture and ill-treatment mainly take place during the first hours of detention when detainees are often held incommunicado, without access to legal counsel and medical personnel. But people held in detention centres and prisons also report torture and other ill-treatment at later stages.

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